Federal judge rejects Philly landlord group’s attempt to stop eviction prevention measures

Philadelphia City Hall.
Photo credit Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio, file
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A federal judge has rejected a request by Philadelphia landlords to halt emergency measures the city has taken to protect tenants during the pandemic. 

The landlord group HAPCO wanted to stop a package of bills passed by City Council that would give tenants nine months to repay back rent before they could be evicted and bar landlords from adding fees during that time, in addition to creating an eviction diversion program.

Judge Cynthia Rufe found that the bills were, in her words, “appropriate and reasonable ways to advance” the “significant and legitimate public purpose” of “protecting public health by ensuring residents can remain at home during the pandemic.”

"The public health danger that evictions pose during the COVID-19 pandemic is particularly pronounced in Philadelphia. Even before the COVID-19 emergency began, Philadelphia was facing an eviction crisis,” she wrote. 

The eviction moratorium is set to end on Monday.

Co-sponsor of the bills, Helen Gym, praised the decision, calling it “a victory for renters and a call to action (for) governments (to) take action to keep families and communities stable”

HAPCO could not be reached for comment.